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5 Pharmas Spending the Most to Develop Drugs: Merck, AstraZeneca, Roche, Bristol, and Lilly

By Brian Orelli, PhD – Feb 24, 2014 at 6:30PM

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Eli Lilly, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Roche, AstraZeneca, and Merck top the charts.

To stay alive, pharmaceutical companies have to continually develop new drugs to replace the ones that go off patent. But the amount they spend on research and development relative to their revenue varies widely, with Merck (MRK 0.64%), AstraZeneca (AZN 0.08%), Roche (RHHBY 1.08%), Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY 0.13%), and Eli Lilly (LLY 0.98%) topping the chart.

Unfortunately, with long development cycles, we won't know for a few years whether the extra dollars being thrown into research and development now will ultimately benefit the companies. In the slide show below, find out more about the reasons behind the companies shelling out so much cash to develop new drugs.

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Brian Orelli and The Motley Fool have no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Merck & Co. Stock Quote
Merck & Co.
MRK
$107.50 (0.64%) $0.68
Bristol Myers Squibb Stock Quote
Bristol Myers Squibb
BMY
$79.24 (0.13%) $0.10
Roche Holding Ltd. (ADR) Stock Quote
Roche Holding Ltd. (ADR)
RHHBY
$41.06 (1.08%) $0.44
Eli Lilly and Company Stock Quote
Eli Lilly and Company
LLY
$365.25 (0.98%) $3.53
AstraZeneca PLC Stock Quote
AstraZeneca PLC
AZN
$66.17 (0.08%) $0.05

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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